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Meet with the MAC: Interview with Percent-for-Art Pgm. Director at the Montana Arts Council, Kim Baraby Hurtle
What is the Montana Arts Council or MAC?
The Montana Arts Council is the agency of state government established to develop the creative potential of all Montanans, advance education, spur economic vibrancy and revitalize communities through involvement in the arts. Our Vision statement offers this: Montana will be known far and wide as “The Land of Creativity,” where the arts are essential to the creativity, imagination and entrepreneurship that make Big Sky Country the very best place on earth to live, learn, work and play.
At the Montana Arts Council, we create 5-year Strategic Plans to work with educators, artists of all mediums, arts organizations, and offer constituents a variety of services, grant monies, and technical assistance. Check out our website to learn more about us. www.art.mt.gov . We serve rural and urban communities, and we do this with tight federal, state funding and a few private dollars. That is a challenge. Our dollars are the result of the public’s trust in our spending the dollars wisely and being able to show a return on their investment. At our website, read about our offerings for individual artists at: http://www.art.mt.gov/artists/artists.asp
Who are you and what is your responsibility at MAC?
Kim Baraby Hurtle is the Percent-for-Art Program Director and has worked for the Montana Arts Council for 12 years. She facilitates public art projects for new and renovated state buildings and also offers technical assistance to artists, writers and performing artists through her two e-news publications.
My main focus, at MAC, is to provide technical assistance to artists, which I do on an individual basis, and through our newspaper, State of the Arts. We now offer two e-newsletters, where I can put calls for artists and juicy ideas in my “Food for Thought” column. You can sign up for our print or online version of State of the Arts or any of our four e-newsletters at: http://www.art.mt.gov/resources/resources_soasubscribe.asp
My work at MAC runs the gamut of directing an artist to copyright law, or how they should approach a gallery for a solo or group exhibition. I am also now one of the key staff persons working towards an Art in Healthcare program. As we learn that our constituents have new or differing needs, we try to respond to those needs. Art heals. Art allows the aging brain to flourish. Art engages us creatively and teaches us problem-solving, which leads to innovation, which brings about scientific advancements, social change, economic growth, more venues for the arts, which in turn offers us beauty, and challenges our beliefs and ideas and brings our communities together.
What services can MAC offer Contemporary and Abstract artists in Montana?
MAC offers services to all artists regardless of their genre. In many ways the challenges for all artists are the same. Where we can’t feature every showing of every artist or the workshops they teach in our newspaper, yet we welcome ideas for sharing art-related information with others. Our work reaches across the nation through our newspaper and e-news, research, and programs.
MAC offers several grants to help. Check out our Strategic Investment grants, and the Artist Innovation Award along with the Cultural & Aesthetic Trust grants for some ideas. http://art.mt.gov/artists/artists.asp See our home page, check out the options to view our website galleries, our Blog and Facebook page. We feature Montana artists who have benefited from our programming.
Some readers might want to check out MAC’s Montana Artrepreneur Program, MAP for short, to see what we’ve done for a Montana artists and artisans. The application period is open at: http://www.art.mt.gov/folklife/folklife_business.asp Don’t let the folk life and business terms throw you, this more like the equivalency of a Master’s degree in marketing regardless of your genre or medium.
MAGDA, the Montana Art Gallery Directors Association is another association artists might want to check-out. http://magdamt.wordpress.com/ They offer member services and alliances for exhibiting shows with a block-booking model that shares the expenses. In short, this means that if a member gallery shows an artist’s work, the exhibition could go on the road to other institutions in Montana, Idaho and North Dakota.
Can you identify any common threads among Modern Montana artists?
For certain, Montanans are rugged individualists. There is no common theme, or even collective consciousness of contemporary or modern artists. Many of us are so isolated that we don’t often get to share our artwork with the general public, with other artists, or poets and writers for that wonderful commune of ideas, theories and mold-breaking. Even with these challenges, Modern art is alive and well in Montana and has been for over a century.
If there were common threads between us, I might offer the landscape as the first one. Each of us is immediately tied to the beauty and harshness of Montana, of the industriousness of its people and how they make their living and how we are truthfully a frontier state by definition of area mass and population density. Both urban and rural towns have underserved populations. Having access to the arts is our concern at MAC.
As artists, whether it is the seasons that inspire us or how difficult it is to find an art material we want to use, this 4th largest state has its joys and concerns. We don’t like being told how to do something, or what to think, but we will also drive five hours in the middle of the night to testify in front of a Legislative assembly on the importance of the arts in Montana, or put a car on a wagon, hitch up the horses and drive a woman in labor to a waiting snowplow that will escort the family to the nearest hospital. We often rely on whatever methods of communication we can tap into in order to find one another.Where might artists interested in contemporary art or the avante garde find resources or community in Montana?
The largest collections of modern art are in the permanent collections, and on view at the Yellowstone Museum in Billings, the Missoula Art Museum in Missoula, and the Holter Museum in Helena. Montana State University and the University of Montana, along with their other campuses each have modern collections. For example, did you realize that the Northcutt Steele Gallery at MSU- Billings has an Andy Warhol collection or that Montana Museum of Arts and Culture on the UM-Missoula campus has Picasso, Miro, and Autio among other European and Montanan modernists in their permanent collection? Medium-sized and smaller museums across the state offer additional venues and permanent collections for a variety of genres. One can learn more about these collections and exhibits through the Museum’s Association of Montana. http://www.montanamuseums.org /
For another great listing of arts events, festivals, museums, and galleries see the periodical: Montana Cultural Treasures guide, which is an annual publication MAC partners with for its production and statewide distribution. http://www.montanasculturaltreasures.com/ Learning what these institutions own, exhibit and how they obtained the work will offer some information about collecting in Montana. Many of these collections came from private individuals. Going to and participating in fundraising for the arts will give you an opportunity to meet collectors , peers and gallery owners.
The Internet has been an important tool, as are newspapers and periodicals such as the Lively Times, our own State of the Arts, the Whitefish Review, and the Missoula Independent, and Theory, which are only a few among the dozens published in Montana. One of the most exciting ideas I’ve seen in some time, are the number of communities who are turning vacant storefronts into venues and studios and will sometimes utilize the guild idea to manage them. Building an audience and patron’s list is complicated and I think sometimes that only the most rugged artists and arts organizations among us will survive the challenge. MAC is a collector of survival stories, we have plenty to share.
Do you have any advice for emerging or middle career artists?
Sales drive financial success, which is a difficult concept to wrap your mind around when the public usually needs a few decades to appreciate work created outside of the “box.” Even traditions in abstract genres become established and then are constantly tested. In Montana, we know what sells more often. The necessary components for financial success for artists in Montana and work in non-traditional styles begins with the peer group and a well-appointed portfolio, the website, the guild model, museum exhibitions, and the gallery representation locally, regionally and at this point, internationally.
My best advice to artists: Stop waiting for the world to come to your door. Genius and talent, and being prolific are not enough. The most well-known artists are capable business people with good marketing skills. Not letting your ego get in the way of your financial success, and also not allowing your financial success get in the way of your creative pathway is critical. Locating your next idea, or challenge for the next artistic problem and resolution, is the key. Balancing this with exposure and sales is a more likely pathway to success with it all. Art after all is, at its most basic level, a form of communication. Without an audience, the work may or may not suffer, but those creating it certainly do.
Emerging artists often find that their first sales are with private collectors. Don’t dismiss the small or early sale in your career. It is critical to maintain good records of who owns your work, along with the pertinent facts about the work [size, price, date, title, medium, methods, conservation, etc.] A successful artist knows his or her patrons and maintains some level of contact about new work and assistance with maintenance and repair issues.
Marketing is a serious commitment. If an artist wants to step outside of the studio, then it means looking at your finished work as a business and getting out of the way of your studio self; if you need to hire someone else to help you with those challenges, then do it. If you need a colleague to help you write about what it is that you do, then ask them. Use the third person voice, it is always more professional and helps with that one-step removed from the studio personality that is necessary.
Leave the studio and learn what is being shown in museums with permanent collections of modern art, learn which galleries represent those artists. Learn about online collectives and galleries outside and inside of Montana that host art.
Nor should you be afraid to try something new. Many of my constituents are finding that a Facebook or other social media presence, where they can offer the patrons a variety of prices on smaller works of art is, in turn, sustaining the production of larger works. Others are entering the public art arena, where online submissions help to level the playing field. Online submissions with digital images are a place where artists can cast a wider net and worry about what proposals to accept later. A good digital image can be sent out simultaneously to art calls across the country opening your potential marketplaces to include museums, galleries, government, and healthcare venues.
Learn more about the MAC on their website .
Posted on: April 24, 2014 by Ella Watson
QR codes are infectious marketing tools that are being used and abused. Honestly, when was the last time you tried to scan one? If you haven’t scanned one, do you even know what they are?
“Quick response codes” were first developed for the automotive industry in 1994 by Denzo Wave Corporation, a subsidiary of Toyota. The QR codes were used to track vehicle parts during the manufacturing process. Since 1994, the codes have looked the same. QR codes pretty much stayed on our Toyota’s mufflers where they belong, until a few years ago, when QR codes reappeared in society to be used as a business and marketing tactic. During advent of smart-phone technology, cell phones became capable of capturing high resolution images. People then developed applications that would allow phones to scan QR codes. The codes could be generated with online software that would point the user scanning the unique code to a particular website. The technology slowly caught on and became a popular “viral marketing” practice.
Posted on: June 16, 2013 by Brian Thabault
Three Untitled Poems by Nathan Reid, originally published in Issue Three. Nathan Reid is an artist, musician, and poet living in Bozeman Montana.
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Posted on: June 13, 2013 by Brian Thabault
A Short Story by Adam Schwankl. Accompanying photo by Eleanor Bennet.
The meadow on the other side of the ranch was placid and calm. The sun was shining bright which made the deck on the side of the large log house too hot for bare feet. The white haired man, and the other man were sweating in their suits. Their jackets were most likely inside. They were sitting under an umbrella at a small table which provided just enough shade for the two men, the table, and their icy, but burnt, mixed drinks. A dog named Ella May, who was biting at flies, sat panting in the heat.
“Must be miserably hot out there in that sunshine.” Said the white haired man as he dabbed the sweat off of his brow with a napkin.
“Nah, it must be used to it.” The other man responded before waving his hand in the direction of Ella May, and slurping another sip of his icy beverage.
Posted on: December 22, 2012 by Brian Thabault
This Friday November 28th at the Waller-Yoblansky Gallery, Chris Holton, Shane Johnson and Matt Schwager Present Second Sight, an interactive multimedia art installation. Without giving too much away, it is going to be a blend of video and imagery with ambient and interactive sound. The project has been developing in the minds of the collaborators for three months. It has come together in it’s current physical manifestation within the past three weeks. It is an ongoing experiment that relies on viewer interaction to reach it’s full potential. The collaboration brings together three minds with different expertise, they are combining they’re knowledge of conceptual art, sound design, and computer programming to create a network of video projectors, webcams, and laptops running MAX MSP to manipulate video and sound.
The result is going to be downright trippy, and a fun interactive exhibit for art appreciators of all ages.
The opening is from 6PM to 9PM Friday, November 28th at the Waller Yoblansky Gallery. Click Here for Directions.
Posted on: November 27, 2012 by Brian Thabault
As much as a relief it is to not have to worry about Mitt Romney taking control of our nation, Obama is no saint himself. There are many issues that weren’t brought up in the politcal dialogue this year; Foreign policy issues like the illegal drone strikes in Pakistan and Yemen, the assassination of US citizens by these strikes, not to mention the local civilian casualties. Infringements on the Bill of Rights like the passing of the National Defense Authorization act, which allows the United States Government to indefinitely detain any United States Citizen that is arbitrarily labeled a “terrorsist” without any trial or due process. Also the continuous pattern of turning a blind eye to the criminal and tax dodging activities of mega-corporations, big banks, and oil companies.
Perhaps the most obvious omission from the debates and dialogue this election cycle was the absence of a single mention of “Climate Change.” An issue which was forced into the spotlight right before election day by Superstorm Sandy, but still received little attention. Even though the topic was absent from the discussion, the topic of “green jobs” did come up here and there, with both sides giving their own respectively vague answers. At least Obama’s party acknowledges the fact that humans are causing an increase in Co2 in the atmosphere, and that it is scientifically proven to cause global warming and change in climates. The GOP routinely denies these facts. If the direction of the last four years are continued, perhaps the U.S. can continue on a path to a more eco-friendly future.
I combined these two maps below to contrast the 2012 Election Results with the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy scorecard map ranking states on their overall energy efficiency from 2011. It paints a pretty clear picture of how our country votes, versus how the state as whole treats the issue of energy efficiency and in a round-about way, the effects we have on our planet.
Take it as you will, but to me this map demonstrates a movement in our country towards a more energy efficient future. A movement that was re-affirmed on election day.
There were other victories this election that made huge advances on the topics of gay rights, marijuana legalization, and women’s rights. These victories give me hope for the future, However, I still remain skeptical. Until we can address the issues of our failed foreign policy, our failed economic system that is designed to incur debt massive debt through the unregulated manipulations of the Federal Reserve, and our tax codes that allow millionaires to pay zero taxes while the poor are crippled by high income taxes, we are still screwed.
What can we do to solve this? The first step is become informed and educated. The more Americans that understand the TRUE problems facing this country, the more we will be equipped to vote in the correct (third party?) candidates to make real change. So get out there, do some research, and talk to your friends and families about what’s really wrong with our government, and what you can do in your everyday life to change it.
Posted on: November 9, 2012 by Brian Thabault
Documenting the harsh, beautiful reality of modern Palestinian life. Words and Photos by Derek Smallwood
A 30 foot tall separation wall makes both sides feel like a prison
It’s noon and like clockwork the adhan from the mosque’s minaret across the street begins. I hear the mosque closest to me first, then an ever-increasing round of beautifully sung shahada verses echo across the city, each starting slightly after another until the whole city can hear the call to prayer. I am on a roof, staring at my Arabic notes hoping that the foreign letters will imprint themselves in my mind. I mute the music on my computer, a habit and sign of respect that I quickly learned. The power of the adhan always reminds me how far away from home I am. It reminds me of how different this place is and why I came here.
I often feel like I have some sort of secular original sin granted by my fortunate first world birth. I want to feel out of place, out of my element. It’s good for you, right? The Israel/Palestine conflict has long been an interest of mine. It embodies all of the things I love to study, read and write about. If (hopefully not when, inshallah) Western culture and its three major religions decide to call it quits and take the rest of the world out with them, I’m sure the land of biblical antiquity will be the epicenter. Along with Venice, Machu Picchu and Glacier National Park, it’s a place I’ve always wanted to see before its gone.
I volunteered to teach English in Hebron, Palestine, one of the most conservative and volatile cities in the West Bank. Yes, there are roadblocks, checkpoints, soldiers with machine guns, nationalist graffiti, separation walls, and identity cards, just like what you see on the news. What has really got me thinking since I’ve been here is what life under an occupation does to a person. That is, how does the occupation affect my current coworkers, friends, students and neighbors.
Posted on: April 28, 2012 by Brian Thabault
Bomb Snow Magazine and Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer are collaborating to bring you an art show and pre-funk party at VAST Gallery in Bozeman (410 N. Broadway) on Saturday March 24th. The show will feature work from Denver and Bozeman artists, and free beer from PBR. The show runs from 6-8 and will continue in funky style at The Filler with the Funk Meltdown party, featuring the tuneage of Cure for the Common. There will be free RV shuttles provided by TREW Gear and VOKE Tab to the Filling Station for denizens of the planet funk, and anybody with a mustache. ya dig?
The show will feature work by local Bozeman artists and friends of THEORY, Dalton C. Brink and Adam Schwankl. Also representing Bozeman, we’ve got John ‘Dizmal’ Warren Jonathan Raney, Rachel Driscoll, Tanner Billis and Wilson Raska.
On the Denver side, there will be works from Amanda Marie, Andrew Hoffman, Chris Huth, Josh Wills, John Fellows, Max Kauffman, Melanie Pruitt, Matt Scobey, Rob Mack, Sandra Fettingis and Scot Lefavor.
Posted on: March 19, 2012 by Brian Thabault
In solidarity with the global OCCUPY movement, OCCUPY Bozeman is organizing a march against big banking in America. On Wednesday March 14th at noon, the group will meet in front of Wells Fargo and march down Main Street to US Bank.
The purpose of this action is to raise awareness about the predatory lending practices of American big banks, and to encourage locals to take their money out of such banks. OCCUPY Bozeman gathers regularly in public spaces for general assemblies to organize actions that draw attention to the inequalities and injustices perpetrated on the 99%. They use a process of consensus and respectful dialogue, and have no hierarchy or leaders.
Why? Big banks are for-profit and serve shareholders rather than account holders. They get those profits from higher fees, interest rates, and by re-selling high-risk loans to investors.
To get involved with the OCCUPY movement or to read assembly notes and write ups from past protests and days of action, visit occupybozeman.org.
Posted on: March 12, 2012 by Brian Thabault
Through Five Eyes is the travel blog of Nathan Steinbauer and Stephanie Choate. They have been travelling the pacific rim and documenting the experience through photography and film. Here is their statement from their blog:
“We are a twenty-something couple from northern Vermont out to explore the western rim of the Pacific Ocean. Our interests include heady microbrews, swimming holes, heavy snowfall, electronic music, the internet, the tops of mountains, food in general, and maple trees.
Fifteen months of travel will take us from Japan through Southeast Asia, Australia, and New Zealand. We will be sharing our experiences here through videos, photos and words.”
Check it out at Through5eyes.com.
Here is their webisode from Japan.
Posted on: February 27, 2012 by Brian Thabault